Paradisus by Meliá, the Destination Inclusive® luxury resort brand by Meliá Hotels International, and U.S. celebrity chef Antonia Lofaso, will come together April 26 – 28 for an interactive culinary weekend at Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.


Strengthening its partnership with Chef Antonia Lofaso, which debuted in November 2023, guests staying at Paradisus Palma Real will get the chance to be up-close-and-personal with two of America’s leading chefs, including Chef Lofaso and Chef Alan Vargas. The weekend will be the next installment of the resort brand’s The Epicure series, an interactive dining guest experience with rotating local and international guest chefs.


The weekend will kick off on Friday, April 26 with a chef masterclass with popular Dominican American Chef Alan Vargas where he will teach guests how to correctly cut a fish for raw dishes like sushi, crudos and ceviche. Attendees will leave the class knowing the ins and outs of how to create a delicious crudo dish, complemented by learning the art of garnishing and dressing with the best oils. Chef Vargas has served as executive chef in a variety of top New York restaurants including, The Grange, Monarch Room, Vella, and Mela East.


On Saturday April 27, Chef Lofaso and Chef Vargas will host a eight-course collaborative dinner at the resort’s Mina Restaurant, pairing Chef Vargas’ American-fusion style with Lofaso’s deeply-rooted Italian culinary background. Menu items range from fresh seafood ceviches and appetizers utilizing local fruits and spices to crispy duck breast with orecchiette pasta and rum braised short ribs.


The weekend will come to a close on Sunday, April 28 with a culinary class hosted by Chef Lofaso where she will guide guests through the art of making an authentic Italian ravioli.


Guests who cannot join the class will still get the opportunity to enjoy all of Chef Lofaso’s creations. Paradisus Palma Real’s Italian restaurant concept Mascalzone currently offers a three-course custom menu included in the all-inclusive rate. The culinary journey begins with a Rice Ball Bolognese appetizer with peas, mozzarella and pecorino. For the main course, diners will be treated to a local crispy red snapper, fra diavolo, topped with capers, lemon, shaved fennel and fresh herbs. To finish it off with a sweet touch, Chef Antonia will offer her personal favorite dessert, a Sicilian ice cream sandwich, hazelnut ice cream, Nutella, butter brioche.


This custom menu is currently offered throughout Paradisus by Meliá locations in Mexico and the Dominican Republic through October 2024.


The sweet treats don’t stop there. Guests of the resort’s upgrade suite experiences – Nikté and The Reserve – will receive a very special check-in amenity curated by Chef Antonia. A tradition in Chef’s family gatherings, a box filled with handmade Italian cookies will greet each guest as a gesture of love and hospitality.


“What a true honor to have Chef Antonia Lofaso join us alongside Chef Vargas for this unique edition of The Epicure culinary series,” said Luis Cancela, Food & Beverage Partner for Meliá Hotels International in the Dominican Republic. “This will surely be a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience for our guests, where they can see firsthand how some of the top chefs in the industry have mastered the art of their craft.”


Widely recognized from Food Network’s hit shows “Tournament of Champions” and “Beachside Brawl” and Bravo’s “Top Chef,” Chef Antonia Lofaso is the Executive Chef and Owner of three acclaimed Los Angeles restaurants – Black Market Liquor Bar, Scopa Italian Roots and DAMA. Though diverse in cuisine and style, each of her restaurants combine deep-rooted, personal culinary traditions with the influence of her globetrotting adventures and formal French training.


“Sharing my dishes with a new worldwide audience of travelers has been such a special experience,” said Chef Antonia Lofaso. “I’m really looking forward to this exciting weekend of culinary collaborations and spending time with guests and showing them how to do what I love most – cook!”


The Epicure series is one of the many impressive enhancements the resort brand has made to its guest experiences, providing visitors with a reinvented all-inclusive vacation. The Epicure is an interactive rotating chef experience, hosted once a month at a Paradisus location. Each Epicure dining experience is curated around a one-of-a-kind culinary theme, where visiting chefs will educate guests on various topics in the industry, as well as their specific culinary specialties, while interacting with diners prior to serving their unique dishes.